Did you know you have legal protections in place even before you interview for a job in Washington? Well you do and you should know them before your next job interview to ensure that your rights are not being violated. Oh, and might we add these rights exist whether or not you get the job.
The excitement and nervousness associated with landing a job interview, especially in the current employment climate, can make many applicants concerned about speaking up when asked a question that makes them uncomfortable or seems completely unrelated to the job description. Like most employment laws, there are both Washington and federal laws in place to ensure that an applicant does not experience unfair discrimination in the interview process. The good news is that these safeguards begin as soon as a job is advertised and stay in effect throughout the entire hiring process.
Here’s a look are some topics that should not be asked during a job interview:
1. Pregnancy plans: Although the interviewer may be looking for a future play date for their child, asking an applicant whether she is pregnant or planning to get pregnant is off limits. These types of questions are very common, but the legal reality is that an individual cannot be disregarded as a potential hire because of this personal decision to grow their family.
2. Recreational drug and alcohol use: It is normal for an employer to be concerned about recreational drug and alcohol use on and off the job. One important thing to remember with this topic—although asking about drug or alcohol is likely illegal, requiring a drug test before extending an offer of employment is perfectly legal.
3. Age: Usually asked in a more undercover way like, “you look so young for your age, mind if I ask how old you are?” Your response should be: “yes I do.” You don’t have to answer this type of question. Simple as that.
4. Religion: Some Washington employers have preferences when it comes to where their workers worship (if at all) and will ask about it in interview. As awkward as it may be for you to keep quiet, you have a legal right not to answer this question if you don’t want to.
If you feel like you have experienced any form of the interview scenarios listed above, you may want to speak to aWashington employment attorney to determine whether you have an actionable case and what your options are.
Many interviewers reach a nice rapport with job applicants and the meeting is less of an interrogation and more of a conversation. Choosing to reveal certain personal facts about yourself should be a decision you make without compulsion. Should you feel uncomfortable answering any personal question, you should feel empowered to keep quiet on these matters as a legal right